The new Prime Minister will take office amidst a political crisis in which Whitehall reform may not seem a priority. In fact, the challenges of delivering Brexit, together with fiscal pressures, mean that strengthening the system of government cannot be an optional extra: it will be key to the success of the new administration.
The new Prime Minister will come into office amid a genuine political crisis. Rather than postponing the modernisation of government, he must prioritise structural changes at the heart of his administration as the key to delivering Brexit and getting a grip on the domestic agenda. In this paper GovernUp sets out the ten most pressing Whitehall reform priorities.
Read the report here.
In the past decade crime has fallen and the public feel safer, yet all is not well with our justice system. With rising delays and many more lengthy and expensive trials, victims bemoan how this cumbersome, impersonal system treats them.
A new GovernUp report, launched today in Manchester, examines the case for devolution of criminal justice
GovernUp, the cross-party independent research project for effective government, today released a discussion paper identifying the need for action on the UK’s broadband market.
The paper finds that ‘business as usual’ will not be enough to ensure that the UK’s future broadband needs are met, and that a more competitive market is needed to deliver reliable, super-fast connectivity to all UK citizens.
Monday 23 March - The Minister for the Cabinet Office made a statement on 'Government Efficiency and Reform' in the House of Commons, highlighting savings and reforms made during the last five years.
GovernUp co-chairmen, Nick Herbert and John Healey, made interventions focusing on a stronger centre for government and a drive for improved professional standards across government. In his response the Minister praised the work of GovernUp and highlighted future challenges facing successful civil service reform.
Rolling list of articles and blogs following GovernUp's conference and publication of discussion papers this week:
The Guardian: Ministers need proper training say MPs
ConservativeHome: Fixing Whitehall: The growing consensus about what should happen next
UKCivilServant blog: Impressive GovernUp Conference: Report and Comment
Spectator blog: One area where Labour and the Tories have started agreeing
Global Government Forum: Analysis: ideas for radical reforms to the British government
Civil Service Commission response to GovernUp reports
The Times (£): Miliband move on Treasury risks new split with Balls
Politicians talk a lot about failures to deliver, but too little about the real reasons why failure happens. More often than not, the blame for a government project that goes wrong is attributed to political mistakes. It is right, of course, that elected leaders should be accountable for the decisions they take. But the desire to pin responsibility on political opponents has often allowed more fundamental problems to go uncorrected.
GovernUp, the cross-party group launched last year to promote Whitehall reform, today (Wednesday 11 February) publishes new proposals for a shake-up of the government machine.
The ideas include the creation of a powerful new Office of Budget Management, combining functions from the Treasury and the Cabinet Office to give a greater focus on the efficiency of public spending; a Decentralisation Act to enshrine the presumption that services should be delivered locally; Commons confirmation hearings to strengthen the accountability of leaders of operational parts of the Civil Service; the ability to appoint Ministers from outside Parliament; and a beefed-up Civil Service Commission to scrutinise the effectiveness of the Civil Service.
GovernUp will be holding a high-level conference, and presenting discussion papers from our six research projects, on Wednesday 11 February at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre at Westminster, 9.00 - 11.30 am. The event will be addressed by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, and by the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lucy Powell MP. The discussion papers and presentations will be published on www.governup.org on the morning of the conference. Attendance at this event is by invitation only. For more information contact email@example.com.
Simon Walker, Director General of the IoD:
"Businesses are compelled by necessity to respond to economic, technological and cultural changes. If they don't, they fail. In contrast, vast areas of government activity continues to operate as if it were immune from these pressures and considerations. There is a vital and exciting opportunity here to rethink the way in which government operates and there's no better starting place than looking at how business values efficiency, quality, accountability and value for money.
"GovernUp has an opportunity to radically reimagine the way in which our civil service and our institutions operate. I believe this is an idea whose time has come, and I look forward to the Institute of Directors being part of it."
John Cridland CBE, CBI Director-General:
“This is a welcome cross-party initiative to ensure our public services are fit for purpose for the twenty first century. This is particularly important at a time of austerity.”
Lord Browne of Madingley, former Chief Executive of BP, lead non-executive director for the Government and a member of GovernUp’s Advisory Board:
“The Civil Service now faces a fundamentally different environment and set of challenges to those for which it was designed. I have called in the past for an independent review of the future of the Civil Service, and so I am very pleased to be part of a project which will take on that task.”
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office said:
“Britain needs an exceptional Civil Service, ready to meet the challenges of the Twenty First Century. That’s why this Government’s reform programme - supported by Ministers and civil servants - is designed to build on strengths while addressing long-standing weaknesses. We have made some significant progress but we still have much to do.
“It’s fantastic that GovernUp are joining the important debate on the future of Whitehall. GovernUp has assembled an impressive cross-party group of former ministers, civil servants and advisers, as well as those from business. I look forward to following the work of this influential group closely as we develop our ongoing programme of Civil Service reform”.